Brazilian fans filled stands all over the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace to cheer on their race heroes, as well as give local Brazilian Felipe Massa the perfect send-off in his second retirement in Formula 1. Fan favourite Scuderia Ferrari packed the front of the grid after taking a magnificent second and third place in Qualifying.
Scuderia Ferrari has celebrated another win, its fifth of the 2017 season, after what was an exciting Brazilian Grand Prix, perfectly managed by the drivers and the team. It was held in hot conditions, with air temperature at 30c degrees, while the track almost hit 60c, so it was vital to look after the car components and especially the tyres. Getting both drivers to the podium clearly shows that Ferrari never gives up.
Seb’s lightning start was the key to victory, as he took the lead going into Turn 1. Kimi held third, but immediately there was chaos further back with several incidents. The Safety Car came out and the drivers had to come through pit lane so that the track surface, which had already hit a very high 54 degrees, could be cleaned of debris. Five laps went by before the race was on again, with the lead positions unchanged. DRS could now be used, but Seb had a lead of over a second. The heat meant that everyone was managing their pace so as not to overheat the tyres, while waiting for the pit stop window. Second placed Bottas initiated the run of stops, coming in on lap 28, trying for an undercut on Vettel, who pushed flat out to maintain his advantage. He emerged from the snaking pit lane still ahead and immediately pulled out more of a lead. Kimi also pitted, nimbly popping out ahead of Ricciardo and Verstappen. At this point, both Ferraris were lapping in under the 1’13” mark.
Hamilton had started from pit lane and did not make his pit stop until lap 44, when Seb led the GP again, controlling his advantage over Bottas. Kimi put in his best lap of the race to fend off Hamilton, which saw him close on Bottas. The final stages were very close, but Seb and Kimi both held on, to bring the total to date in this 2017 season to five wins and 19 podium finishes.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Already yesterday, in qualifying, it was clear that the SF70H was quick and well prepared. Today, we got the confirmation that we have a very good car at our disposal. The result of this race is also down to the great job carried out by the team, both here at the track and back in Maranello, not forgetting the drivers who, on the day, know how to step up to the mark.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think this was one of the most difficult races of the season, there was no time for mistakes. My start was not perfect, but enough to beat Bottas off the line. Then, Valtteri was always very close and we had the same pace, but I pushed very hard and managed to pull a gap. This win is very important for me and for the team. After such a long time it’s been great to achieve it. I’m happy for the whole team, because it has been through a tough couple of weeks, with long nights, hard work and a big support from the factory. I dedicate this win to all of them, to the guys here and to those who’ve been working in Maranello. It’s been very hard for us, but today is a great day and I want to thank my team and our Tifosi.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “My start was pretty average, I had some wheelspin and I was happy I did not lose any places. The first fifteen laps were a bit tricky with tires, but after the pit stop I was happy with my car. I expected that improvement, because I knew that with the soft tires I would be really strong. It was easy to keep up with the guys in front and at the same time look after my tires. At some point I tried to push and I got closer; I felt I had a lot of speed but today in these conditions there was no way to pass. It was a bit frustrating, but when Hamilton was behind me I could see him closing up, but I had a good car and I was pretty confident that if I was not making any stupid mistake I could keep him behind. I held him quite easily; he never really had a good chance to get me. Obviously we could have finished one place up, but it’s a great result for the team. The car has been pretty strong all weekend. We have been strong almost everywhere this year, obviously in a few races we had some difficulties, but as a team we can be proud. We are building ourselves for next year.”